Graves Build Guide by
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
With Sustain Support
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Thanks for checking this guide out, It's my first one so please leave me feedback, and I'll update and finish this in the future.
I play on Korean and Taiwan servers and recently, since moving to the United States, started playing on the US server. I am a mid elo (1400-1600) player and have been playing since early season 2. This guide isn't for everyone, and won't work for everyone. I've "mained" AD Carries for a while now, and I realize that not everybody shares my play style, but I hope you guys find this useful.
Graves is a bursty attack damage carry (ADC) who is great at causing chaos and dueling. His passive makes him fairly tanky and allows for a strong early and mid game. If you play him correctly, he'll still be strong late game. So, for the most part, I'm going to assume that most my readers have some experience with this champion, but probably not enough to be great with him. Otherwise, you wouldn't be reading this guide.
I am going to focus on a mid/late game Graves, as his natural stats make him fairly adept early game, but I'll try not to miss out on too much. Essentially, his E is going to make him a late game monster when he can gun down an entire team.
TL;DR This guide will focus on keeping graves scary late game.
Pros / Cons
Strong early game
Has a built in escape
Requires careful timing
Requires good judgement
No true damage
Doesn't have the same tank melting as Vayne or Corki
Cannot build the same thing every game
Cleanse: This works wonders since your E->Q combo requires you to get close; close enough to be CC'd. Also, you don't have the greatest auto attack range, so cleanse will save you when the Sona or Varus ults you, or the Taric stuns you and you get engaged on.
Flash: Doesn't even need to be explained. But make sure it's on your "F" key. F for flash, also the distance from the QWER cluster means you're less likely to accidentally press it.
Ignite: Works great. Use it if you feel like.
Barrier is also a decent option. Everything is useless. Except maybe teleport if you like split pushing.
By now, a lot of you are probably thinking: But this graves has so little damage. I WANT TO BUILD MORE DAMAGE.
Well let's think of it this way (here's a little math)
NOTE: I HAVE NOT CALCULATED FOR ARMOR. THIS IS JUST TO PROVE A POINT.
NOTE: I've not calculated boots, as there is a chance they will be sold late game.
1) Graves can give up a phantom dancer (and maybe get a last whisper instead of hurricane) the and have (25 I.E + 30 P.D = 55%) Crit chance. That means assuming he does have his IE, he will deal (348*2.5 =870) damage about every other auto attack. However, at level 18, this is (0.93*1.5*1.7)=1.4 times a second. Not too bad, but that still rounds down to an auto attack a second. More than enough time to get knocked up while the enemy runs. If he pops his E, that is 2.3 a second. Not bad, an auto attack and a crit auto. Still, this is enough to get cc'd and bursted (though you do have cleanse) Before the CC is cast, he will deal about 870+348, or 1118 damage.
2) Graves can have two phantom dancers and a hurricane. This means: (30 P.D + 30 P.D + 25 IE =85% crit chance). Also: (.93 attack speed*1.5 PD * 1.5 PD * 1.7 Hurricane * 1.7 E Ability =6.047) attack speed. That means in a second, a little over the animation cast time for most abilities, he can whip out six and a half attacks, 5 of which will crit for (will full bt stacks) (253.55 + 30 (bt)*2.5) =708 damage. With his speed, that is (5 crits, one non crit) 3827 damage. More damage than the average champion has health, and especially more than a champion who has been engaged on has.
TL;DR Other popular builds put out 1118 dmg a second, this one puts out 3827. Which one will kill before the CC comes down?
Situational Items Explained
In an ideal world, the enemy team is predictable and there are no health or armor stackers. However, that is a fantasy and not, in fact, the reality of this game. Perhaps in Bronze people will just build more damage hoping it will reap more kills (call of duty mentality), but anyone with a brain will build to win.
Therefore consider these items:
Blade of The Ruined King:
This item is great against health stackers. So if the enemy team is too tanky/has too much armor, the 5% true damage an auto attack works wonders with the 6.4 auto attacks a second (round down to 6, that is still a free 30% true damage a second without considering base AD)
Every now and then the enemy team starts counter building and stacks Last Whisper (though in my experience, there are a lot of high elo players who still build MOAR DAMAGE. No idea.
Shred Armor like a boss. And gives fairly good AD.
If you find yourself getting focused a lot, or that team fights are coming very close and there are both teams are acing each other at the same time, this item really turns the tides making it a 6v5.
In lane, the key is not to pick up kills, but to get gold. More gold than the enemy. The safest way to do that? Farm.
How to do this?
Punish your opponent for trying to farm. E->Q then and auto attack. Since you're farming anyway (not pushing lane, last hitting) you'll have stacks on your passive which will let you laugh any auto attacks right off. Keeping your opponent scared of coming in to farm will keep them near tower. Freeze lane and they have less gold and less exp than you.
If they engage on you, and get right up in your face, Pop your W, E backwards, and Q. This will put them at a disadvantage: 1) they have taken a q to the face. 2) they can't see and need to reposition. 3) you have an attack speed boost and are in a better position to duel than they are.
Proceed to either continue farming, or go in for the kill
If you decide your enemy has made a dumb mistake and has overstepped, don't be afraid to go in for the kill if the jungler is far away.
1) see if your support can land a pull or cc or something. Graves likes dueling so keeping the support away, even for just a second, is enough to kill. E in towards your support, Q so all 3 shots land, then autoattack. Or, W as your support pulls, then E, Q, Auto attack, R as he tries to get away. Kill secured.
There are other ways to fight with Graves' kit, so be creative and figure out what works for you.
This is the interesting part. Graves has a fairly low attack range and his kit seems to encourage him to get right up in everyone's business. The problem is that ad carries tend to get focused in team fights. That is why positioning and timing is key.
Stay at the back of your team, and poke whoever you can. Graves can poke fairly well with his Q. However, be prepared for the engage. Make sure your team goes in first, and then after the enemy has burnt the majority of their crowd control, E in, Q and unleash hell. Hopefully you're fairly built or are at the full build point. This is when Graves will ruin lives. Assuming you are almost full built, you can full to zero an enemy within a second or two. Focus on the squishies, since AD carries can't out duel you (you have a 70% attack speed buff, natural armor and 18% lifesteal, remember?), and AP carries can't land abilities before you can kill them. Or if they go with instant crowd control, you have cleanse to get rid of it.
Remember: it's about a second for crowd control or a bursty ult to come down. That's enough for you to put out over almost 4000 raw damage (maybe 2500-3000 if you count armor). You will kill the lux before her ult comes down.
BASICALLY: GRAVES CAN POKE WITH HIS Q AND BY KITING, BUT HE THRIVES IN FULL ON ENGAGES WITH THE ENEMY. TEAM FIGHTS ARE WHERE HE SHINES IF YOU PLAY HIM RIGHT.
Watching out for Assassins
Graves is pretty squishy in this build. Yes his passive helps a lot, but keep in mind, he is not as tanky as a Malphite or a Volibear. So he is still going to get focused by Akali and Ahri and Talon and whoever else tries to burst him down.
Stand at the back of your team, if an Akali Shrouds, make sure someone has a pink ward down immediately, as this will absolutely ruin her chances of diving you. If an Ahri ults over, just e back and q her in the face. If she charms, cleanse through and wreck her.
There are infinite scenarios, but staying near your team, and being in a safe position will usually solve these things.